The band was formed in 1991, when Chris Murphy and Andrew Scott met at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) in Halifax. Patrick Pentland and Jay Ferguson joined soon after. In 1992, the band created their own record label, called Murderecords, for themselves and other Halifax area bands, and the outfit released the ‘Peppermint EP’ (the release also known as just ‘Peppermint’).
According to Sloan’s official website, the band’s name refers to a friend’s nickname. Their friend, Jason Larsen, was called ‘Slow One’ by his French-speaking boss, which with the French accent sounded more like ‘Sloan’. The original agreement was that they could name the band after their friend’s nickname as long as he was on the cover of their first album. As a result, it is Larsen who appears on the cover of the ‘Peppermint EP’.
Later in 1992, Sloan released their full-length debut, titled ‘Smeared’, on Geffen Records. Like many indie rock groups before them, the band found that major label dealings were basically as much trouble as they were worth. In 1994, Geffen did not promote their second album, called ‘Twice Removed’, due to artistic disputes, although it sold well in Canada. Spin named the album one of the “Best Albums You Didn’t Hear” in 1994. A 1996 reader poll by Canadian music magazine Chart! ranked it as the best Canadian album of all time only two years after its release. The same poll in 2000 ranked the album third, behind Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’ and Neil Young’s ‘Harvest’, while the 2005 poll once again ranked the album first.
After the release of Twice Removed, the band went on hiatus and were rumoured to have broken up, as they had rejected Geffen’s offer for their next album. In 1996, however, they released the widely praised One Chord to Another on their own Murderecords label. Following 1998’s Navy Blues album, Sloan released their first live album 4 Nights at the Palais Royale in 1999. Those albums were followed by Between the Bridges in 1999, and Pretty Together in 2001.
Sloan made a concerted effort to break into the US market on their 2003 release Action Pact. Songs were recorded in L.A. with Tom Rothrock producing. The glossier, radio-ready sound failed to raise Sloan’s profile in the US, though they continued to be highly popular in Canada.
Sloan’s first compilation album A Sides Win: Singles 1992-2005, included two new songs, “All Used Up” and “Try to Make It”. The Japanese release included two additional new tracks.
Now signed to Yep Roc Records for their US releases, they put out their eighth disc, Never Hear the End of It in 2006. The album contained 30 tracks with all the members of the band contributing new songs. It was met with widespread critical acclaim and became the highest charting Sloan album in the US up to that point.
In 2008, Sloan followed up their longest album with their shortest release Parallel Play.
In November 2009 Sloan added a digital music store to their website. The band released an online-only EP called Hit & Run to promote the store. The EP featured two songs by Chris Murphy, and one by each of the other band members. Murphy’s Take It Upon Yourself was released as a free single. In February 2010, the band released another online exclusive, the compilation album B-Sides Win: Extras, Bonus Tracks and B-Sides 1992 - 2008.
In 2013, the band revealed plans for a double album, with each of the four sides featuring a solo suite by a different band member. In May 2014, it was announced that the new album would be titled “Commonwealth” and would be released in September 2014. On July 14, 2014, the band announced the official release date for the album (September 9, which turned out to be accurate) and the release of the album’s first single, “Keep Swinging (Downtown)”. The album cover portrays the band members as four-of-a-kind kings. The suits of these playing cards correspond to the titles of their solo sides: Jay Ferguson’s side is called Diamond, Chris Murphy’s is Heart, Patrick Pentland’s is Shamrock, and Andrew Scott’s is Spade.
Edited by promisedeyes on 2 Jul 2015, 11:41
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- Formed in
- Founded in
- Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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